On Friday afternoon we attended the Diversity Center’s 2014 Walk, Rock and Run Kick-Off Luncheon.
The Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio is a non profit organization committed to eliminating bias, racism, and all forms of bigotry by “building communities where all people are connected, respected, and valued”. Through professional development workshops and youth outreach programs, the Center educates the public, both young and old, on the importance of inclusion and understanding and the perils of discrimination.
At the luncheon, the Diversity Center’s CEO, Peggy Zone Fisher introduced sponsors from Medical Mutual and Lincoln Electric who spoke of their company’s commitment to diversity. Representatives from these businesses emphasized the importance of diversity to improving workplace culture as well as overall performance. Perhaps the best line to sum up their speeches was this “Embracing diversity will make your business stronger”.
Yet the most inspiring speaker of the day was a junior at Beachwood High School, Marilyn Farley. Marilyn has taken part in several of the Center’s youth outreach programs since she was in middle school. With the Center she learned about the history of slavery and of Native Americans and the dangers of discrimination, stereotypes, and bullying. Through the Center she gained confidence and even though she is quite young, she is already a leader in her community, creating a more open and inclusive society.
The Center is particularly dedicated to ending bullying in schools. We learned that 77% of students have been bullied and 14% of them have a severe reaction to being bullied. The outreach programs run by the Center seek to teach students to respect diversity as well to be change agents in their communities. In teaching youngsters to globally minded rather than individually focused, the Center hopes to instill today’s youth with a sense of purpose and community.
The Race will take place on May 3 in downtown Cleveland. Participants will receive free entry into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Great Lakes Science Center, USS COD Submarine Memorial, and Baseball Heritage Museum. Sign up individually or as a team here.